After 10-year-old Ryan Kennett ran over to his family yelling, "Santa told me he's not real, it's just you and dad," and after the entire family had filed a complaint and left the garden store Notcutts (which kept the Santa on-duty for the remainder of the business day), they all went to lunch at a nearby restaurant to regroup.
When the kids told a "balloon artist" at the restaurant about the letters they'd written to Santa, he told them, "That was a waste of time. Santa is my best friend, we went skiing last weekend and he told me that he doesn't bother reading letters because he has got better things to do." Because balloon artists are nothing if not sociopaths, it turns out.
Wendy Kennett, the mother of the three kids, called the whole experience "the worst day of my life," which, pretty believable. The family has at least been offered a free meal and been re-funded the cost of the Santa visit, but still. If anyone has an address where I can send these kids a present or some candy or geez, anything at all, I think that would really help take the edge off. I don't wanna say Christmas is ruined, but... Christmas might be ruined.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.